My new mentor is the Crockpot lady.
Last year, she joyfully used her slow cooker every day and recorded her adventures on her blog. Entrees, side dishes, even desserts were all experimented with.
I am so grateful she did this!
You see, we now have no kitchen (our own doing; no sympathies needed). And it won’t be functioning again for some time. The idea of weeks of take-out food is so unappealing to me that I have become a Crockpot chef.
What I’ve discovered is that my bare-bones, makeshift kitchen is plenty functional. My limited culinary options have actually simplified my grocery shopping and meal preparation; and I don’t feel restricted in the least! (But my hubby is lamenting the loss of chocolate lava cakes.)
These unavoidable limitations have prompted me to think through the differences between wants and needs (always a wider gap than assumed), as well as the simplicity that comes from having some limits. In many ways, the presence of choices can be just as crippling as the absence of them.
Years ago, I attended an Urbana missions conference with a dear friend. One of the sessions we attended focused on adjusting your lifestyle to support a biblical worldview. The speaker was a woman who had been a missionary overseas for many years but was now in the States for a lengthy furlough. The vision she cast for a life lived to the full and lived for eternity was so inspiring!
What I loved about her manner and her message was that she did not demonize all aspects of our choice-saturated culture. She challenged us to know what we are passionate about—what makes us tick—and to pursue it (within financially reasonable limits) because we were blessed to live here where we have such opportunities.
The problem, as she defined it, is that we are so inundated with options that we don’t know what we love because we are so busy pursuing what the culture loves. In this scenario, we lose out on the things that will bring the most satisfaction. And the Kingdom loses out because our time, attention, and resources are being wasted on things that we don’t really care about. She challenged us to love what God loves and to know what infuses us with joy. [She readily admitted that her heartbeat was for missions, so she dedicated much of her resources toward that; but she also loves dogs, so she dedicated much to them as well. These two priorities then canceled out other things of interest simply because there is not enough to go around.]
In the past few years, I have taken tentative steps toward such a narrowed focus. What’s fascinating is that the narrowed focus actually provides a wider plain upon which to breathe and live and be. Instead of feeling restricted to conserve resources or denied of opportunities, I feel confident to say no to some things because I want to preserve space for what makes me tick.
It is here in the narrow space that I am sloughing off what doesn’t match the Kingdom living that God is carving out for me.
Perhaps this is a continuation of thought from a previous post, in which I tackled Augustine’s countercultural view of choice being the enemy of the things of God.
Like the missionary woman at Urbana, I do not see the options we enjoy as inherently evil; I do see them as possible (and certain) distractions. And like Augustine, I agree that as I know God better, my narrowed focus actually becomes a wide-open plain.
Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?